Skip to main content

Full text of "Account of Ruth Anna Lindley : a minister of the gospel in the religious Society of Friends"

See other formats




■■■■> '''■' 88 '•'<■■'■ ' 



^:m : \ 



& 



mm 

•■'v.'::'''.':':. 















Mm Mm A J ^TNDLEY. 



■•'•'■■ 






UNIVERSITY 

OF PITTSBURGH 

LIBRARIES 



Dar. Rm. 
BX7795 

189? 



FRIENDS' 

HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

OF 

SWARTHMORE COLLEGE 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Pittsburgh Library System 



http://www.archive.org/details/accountofruthannOOtown 



ACCOUNT 



OF 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY 



A MINISTEK OF THE GOSPEL IN THE KELIGIOUS 
SOCIETY OF FEIENDS. 



PHILADELPHIA : 

TO BE HAD AT FRIENDS' BOOK STOKE, 
No. 304 Arch Street. 



Wm. H. Pilh's Sons, Printers. 



PREFATORY REMARKS 



" There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vul- 
ture's eye hath not seen ; the lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor 
the fierce lion passed by it." — Job. xxviii : verse 7. 

Under a fresh feeling of interest for the best 
welfare of the younger members of our religious 
Society, as well as for others, the following instruc- 
tive narrative of the exercises and faithfulness of 
one young in years, is now republished, with some 
additions from other sources. 

Ruth Anna Lindley was not by birth a member 
of the religious Society of Friends, and like Paul, 
who declared, in regard to his ministry : "I neither 
received it of men, neither was I taught it but by the 
revelation of Jesus Christ," it appears that the prin- 
ciples and testimonies of Truth, which she was 
constrained to adopt, were not received by her 
through education, but from the operations of the 
Holy Spirit upon her mind. 

Truth does not change. The words of our dear 
Saviour have as much force now as ever they had : 
" He that taketh not up his cross and followeth 
after me is not worthy of me." The spirit of that 



4 PREFATORY REMARKS. 

dear Saviour which led her, and has led many 
many others into the path of self-denial and to show 
to the world on whose side they were, is the same 
that ever it was. There is a spirit of false liberty 
abroad which would lay waste our testimonies, but 
surely, the same spirit which led our forefathers 
out of the world will not now lead others back into 
it. It must be another spirit, and it would be well 
for all of us to look closely to see by what spirit we 
are governed. 

Thousands have been brought into deep repent- 
ance for having lived lives of gayety and worldly 
compliance, none have ever regretted when they 
came to die that they had led lives of self-denial. 
It is with an earnest desire that the feet of some 
may be plucked from the entangling net of tran- 
sient, worldly pleasures, to spare them the pains of 
bitter repentance and to turn their feet into paths 
of true peace and permanent happiness, that this 
little account is now offered and an attentive perusal 
invited, fervently desiring that the Divine blessing 
may rest upon it. 

W. P. T. 

West Chester, Fourth Month, 1893. 



FPlU 



Ruth Anna Lindley 



Ruth Anna Lindley was the daughter of Thomas 
and Martha (Potts) Rutter, and was born First 
Month 3rd, 1768, at Pottstown, Montgomery 
County, Pennsylvania. She was received as a mem- 
ber by Exeter Monthly Meeting of Friends, Fourth 
Month 25th, 1787, and recommended by that Meet- 
ing as a minister, Fourth Month 24th, 1793. She 
married Jacob Lindley, an approved minister,* 
Sixth Month 26th, 1800, and removed to Xew Gar- 
den, Chester County, where she died, Ninth Month 
10th, 1810. f She was educated as an Episcopalian. 
It is said that she was attractive in her personal 
appearance, refined and agreeable in manner ; and 
possessing the true Christian graces, her society was 
much enjoyed by those who knew her. 

From an account prepared by some of her friends 
soon after her decease, the following information 
has been compiled respecting her. 



* Of whom an interesting account may be found in " Biograph- 
ical Sketches and Anecdotes of Friends." Friends' Book Store, 
No. 304 Arch Street, Philadelphia. 

f By this marriage there were three sons ; two of whom sur- 
vived their mother, viz : Thomas Rutter Lindley, who died un- 
married, First Month 12th, 1842, and William Lindley, who also 
never married, and died at Duncannon, Pa., about 1884. 



6 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

In this brief sketch, as in others of a similar char- 
acter, it is confirming and encouraging to notice 
how the entire surrender of the human to the Di- 
vine will was followed by the enriching blessing of 
a peaceful, happy life here, and closed with bright 
hopes of eternal happiness in that which is to 
come. Being made sensible of the spiritual benefit 
of silent waiting, she used generally, when at home, 
to assign a portion of the day for retirement, medi- 
tation or reading the Scriptures; in which she took 
great delight. 

It appears she was early furnished with an evi- 
dence that a dispensation of the gospel would, if 
she was faithful, be committed to her. Under 
this solemn prospect many conflicts were endured 
before she became resigned to the work, but after 
many deep probations and secret tears she became 
■willing: to acknowledge before men how much she 
owed to her Lord, and even to appear as a fool for 
his sake. 

In the exercise of her gift she was frequently 
enabled to sympathize with the mourners in Zion 
and to hold forth to these the doctrine of consola- 
tion. Towards the rising generation she was often 
drawn forth in the language of invitation to come, 
taste and see the goodness of the Lord to the 
humble, dedicated soul, and was led at times to re- 
count the merciful dealings of the Heavenly Shep- 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 7 

herd with her during her youth, and to bear her 
testimony to the soul-enrichiug joys which attend 
an unreserved obedience to the manifestations of 
his will. 

To the formal, lukewarm professors her testimony 
w r as often close and awakening, being solicitous that 
none might rest their hopes of acceptance upon 
anything short of inward purity, effected by the 
cleansing operation of the spirit of Truth. She 
travelled into some of the Xew England States, and 
w r as frequently engaged in visits to meetings nearer 
home, in which services the precious covering of 
her spirit, and her tender solicitude for the essential 
well-being of all gave her much place in the minds 
of those to wmom she was concerned to minister. 

During the latter years of her life she was subject 
to much bodily infirmity, yet her zeal for the attend- 
ance of religious meetings and the promotion of 
her Master's cause, continued. It was her practice, 
even when young in years, frequently to collect the 
servants of the family on First-day afternoons and 
read the Holy Scriptures in their hearing. She 
was also concerned to discourage the practice of 
spending that day in unprofitable visits and unsa- 
vory conversation. 

When infirmity had so much increased as to 
confine her mostly at home, she would sometimes 
inquire of her husband, upon his return from meet- 



8 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

ing, how they had fared, and would frequently 
testify that she had had a blessed meeting in her 
chamber during his absence. 

During the progress of her last illness her mind 
appeared deeply centred in the love of her Heavenly 
Father, and raised above the fear of death. Though 
a large portion of bodily suffering was her lot, she 
was not heard to utter a murmur or complaint nor 
even a wish for better health, but frequently desired 
that she might be furnished with patience to hold 
out to the end. Her soul was frequently so filled 
with heavenly joy that she would break forth into 
ejaculations to her blessed Master for his bountiful 
dealings with her. 

About a week before her decease, two relatives 
taking leave of her, she desired them to sit down, 
and, after a short pause, was enabled to bear a living 
testimony to the goodness of the Lord to his hum- 
bled 'children, and feelingly exhorted them to yield 
an unreserved obedience to the manifestations of 
Divine light. Addressing herself to one of them, 
a young man, she admonished him to make an 
early surrender to Divine requirings, saying "An 
early sacrifice was acceptable to God," and that her 
early dedication afforded much peace at that awful 
season. 

To some sitting by her she said, on another occa- 
sion : " Pray for me, but do not weep for me, for I 



RUTH ANNA LINDLET. \) 

apprehend that I have a sharp conflict to pass 
through. Oh, that patience may be vouchsafed to 
the end." 

She quietly departed, like one falling into a sweet 
sleep, on the tenth of the Xinth Month, 1810, aged 
upwards of forty-two years, having been a minister 
about twenty years. 

The following is a letter of Ruth Anna Lindley, 
addressed to a beloved cousin : 

"Philadelphia, Fourth Mo. 5th, 1804. 

" To M. H.: — I find by the letters addressed to thy 
dear sister that my beloved cousin has some desire 
that I would write to her. 

"Alas ! my dear creature, what can I say ? It is 
but little we can do for one another, yet perhaps 
there are seasons wherein we may, under Divine 
influence, be rendered in some degree useful. Oh ! 
my dear cousin, the companion of my early years, 
how oft on the bended knee, in the secret chamber, 
have my aspirations been that the Lord from on 
high would graciously condescend to visit thy soul. 
I saw that thou wast endued with more than one 
talent, and I wished them dedicated to the Lord. 
I was, for a season, amongst you as a spectacle unto 
angels and to men; but of latter time have thought 
I have seen of the travail of my soul, and am satis- 
fied in some measure. Oh ! to find that some of 



10 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

my endeared connections are truly awakened to a 
sense of religion and have turned their faces Zion- 
ward, is more rejoicing to my soul than the increase 
of corn, wine or oil. My dearj be not dismayed 
nor discouraged at the fiery trials that may be per- 
mitted to attend thee. Oh ! bear the turnings and 
overturnings, even all the refining operations of the 
Divine hand upon thee. 

" Be willing to become as the passive clay — 
moulded and fashioned according to the gracious 
design of an all-wise Director; and, my love, re- 
member that it was not in the whirlwind, the fire 
or the earthquake that the Lord was pleased to 
make Himself known, but in the still, small voice. 

" It is, my clear, in the silence of all flesh that 
we are most capable of hearing and of being in- 
structed by the Shepherd's voice. May I not say 
I have experienced this? Yes, my cousin, even 
when surrounded by temptations, even when the 
floods of discouragement have been ready to over- 
whelm, I have retired to my chamber and prostrated 
myself at the footstool of mercy, and although, at 
times, my intercession was not in any form of 
words, but in secret, inward breathings, my gra- 
cious Master condescended to hear me, and caused 
me to experience a renewal of inward strength, so 
that I was enabled to persevere in what I believed 
to be required of me. 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 11 

"And oh ! my dear friend, may .thou be encour- 
aged to bold on thy way; attend and be faithful 
even in the little, in the day of small things. What- 
soever the Master biddeth thee do, that do, and I 
am comforted in the sweet persuasion that there 
are blessings in store for thee, and that thou wilt 
be a blessing to thy dear sisters, as well as to many 
in that place. Oh ! Pottsgrove,* the land of my 
nativity, how I have longed to see religion abound 
within thy borders ! How have I travailed, in the 
secret of my soul, both by night and by day, that 
the inhabitants might be awakened. How have I 
proclaimed, as I believe, under Divine influence, 
the necessity of living holy lives, and on the bended 
knee have implored that the number of Zion's vota- 
ries might be increased. 

" Well, my dear, may the Lord God Almighty 
bless and preserve thee in the line of Divine recti- 
tude. May the angel of his presence encamp round 
about you as a family. And oh ! saith my soul, that 
none of the gracious designs of Israel's Shepherd 
may be frustrated by an improper withholding on 
your part, but resign yourselves, your all into his 
holy hand, and He will assuredly perfect the glori- 
ous work He has begun in your dear minds. 

"I must conclude and subscribe, thy deeply and 
tenderly interested friend and cousin, 

Ruth Anna Lindley. 

* Now Pottstown, 1893. 



12 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 



ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY RELIGIOUS EXERCISES 
AND CONVINCEMENT OF RUTH ANNA RUTTER 
(AFTERWARS LINDLEY,) WRITTEN BY HER- 
SELF. 

I trust it is under a decree of the influence of 
the blessed Truth that I now take up my pen, in 
order to commemorate the tender dealings of an 
Almighty and most merciful Father towards me in 
the morning of my day ; that if I am continued in 
this vale of mortality to future years my heart, may 
be reverently bowed in gratitude, in taking a little 
retrospect thereof. 

It pleased my Heavenly Father to incline my 
heart to seek Him from my infancy, and about the 
fourteenth year of my age I was favored with a 
remarkable visitation, the beginning of which I 
was thus made sensible of. One day, being much 
interested in a little piece of work, and confining 
myself to my chamber, many serious reflections 
presented themselves. In the evening, sitting in 
the parlor with my parents, brothers and sisters, I 
burst into tears, and, all leaving the room, except 
my dear mother, she asked the occasion of my un- 
easiness. I told her I was just thinking, if it 
should please the Almighty to call me before the 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 13 

light of another day, whether I was in a tit situa- 
tion to appear before his great Majesty ? She 
spoke suitably to me, and said she made no doubt 
if I sought properly to be rendered worthy an 
inheritance in the kingdom I should gain it. But 
I felt great distress that night, and my concern 
continued for some time. 

One evening, being left alone with my dear 
mother, and having some desire of improvement, I 
asked her what books would be suitable for me to 
read ? She answered, " There is none more suitable 
than the Bible." This reply affected me, and she 
took that opportunity of querying with me, what 
society I thought I should join ? I told her I be- 
lieved I should be a Quaker. Indeed, I saw it 
clearly to be my duty to leave off several of my 
flounces and superfluous things, and felt peace in 
giving up thereto : but, through unwatchfulness, 
I lost ground and became again captivated and 
ensnared in the vain fashions and customs of the 
world. My sister being about to accomplish her 
marriage, several new things were provided for me 
on the occasion. I put on a cushion* and dressed 
in the most fashionable style for girls of my age. 
I joined in all the levity and mirth that was going 
forward, and was at times much elated. But, alas, 
that innocence and calm serenity of mind with 

* An head-dress fashionable at that time. 



14 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

which I had been favored while I lived in the cross 
to my natural inclination was no longer in my pos- 
session. Every enjoyment carried with it a sting, 
and I felt a void which I cannot express, but which 
no doubt proceeded from the absence of my Be- 
loved. Nevertheless, I pursued a gay line of life 
till turned of seventeen, though I had often to recur 
to that season wherein I was favored with religious 
thoughtfulness, and in secret lamented my situation. 

In the fall preceding the change in my dress 
my sister invited me to spend the winter with her, 
in order to introduce me into company. I accord- 
ingly went, and frequented the dancing assemblies, 
theatre and all places of amusement that were usual. 
I also learned music, having a master to attend me, 
and made great proficiency therein, as I had a natu- 
ral ear and uncommon fondness for it. I promised 
myself much pleasure, and thought it would fill up 
many vacant hours which I should have in the 
country, for, from the sensation that often attended 
my mind, I thought I should not long continue in 
the circle I was then in. 

Through the course of the winter, I have since 
thought, I was under a very tender visitation of 
Divine love, though at that time I knew it not. 
My mind was, at seasons, so absorbed that, when 
paying formal visits and surrounded with company 
I scarce knew what passed, and but few expressions 



RUTH ANNA LINDLBY. 15 

escaped my lips, so that my friends would often 
tell me I was extremely silent, and laugh at me for 
it. And, indeed, I was, at times, almost ready to 
conclude there was a great degree of insensibility 
in me and a natural uneasiness of disposition, for, 
notwithstanding no exertion of my friends nor 
expense of my parents was spared to render every- 
thing agreeable to me, I was not happy. "When 
under the hands of the hair-dressers, tears would 
stream from my eyes, though I could not tell the 
cause ; but, doubtless, it was the cords of Thy Di- 
vine love, oh, my Beloved, operating in me, in 
order that I might become wholly thine ! 

I well remember one afternoon, being engaged 
upon a large party, I went up stairs to dress, and 
sat before the glass, attempting to crape my hair, 
but not considering what I was about, being in 
deep thought; it grew late and I was hurried, and 
not readily finding some of my finery which I 
wanted to put on, it flustered me, and I felt myself 
entangled in those things: which ^ave me much 
pain and anxiety, without knowing where to seek 
relief. I threw myself upon the bed in great agony 
of mind and gave vent to many tears, but after 
some time I arose, went down stairs and made ex- 
cuse to my sister, who expected to see me in full 
dress. But truly, my mind was not in a fit condi- 
tion to join a large company, though I strove to 



16 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

hide the real cause. At another time, going with 
some company to see a pantomine performed, my 
mind was so abstracted from the objects around 
me that I could pay no attention to the scene, but 
felt a dejection and distress not easily to be con- 
ceived. 

The last ball I attended was given by some 
young men of my acquaintance ; my sister had a 
dance the preceding evening at her own house, and 
I, being much fatigued, wished to have excused 
myself from going to the ball, but it being a set 
company and my friends pressing me to go, I 
yielded and went, but had not danced more than 
two or three dances before I again felt deep distress 
and dismay to cover my mind. I called my brother 
and told him I was not well, desiring him to call 
one of the servants, who were in waiting, to go 
home with me, as I wished to leave the room un- 
observed, which he accordingly did, and my sister 
expressing her surprise at my quick return, I pleaded 
indisposition and went to bed. 

Soon after this I lost an uncle, and he dying 
suddenly, it greatly shocked and affected me. The 
next First-day evening, being the time of the Spring 
meeting, and an evening meeting being held at 
Pine Street, a connection of mine asked me to go 
there with her. I had frequently in the course of 
the winter gone in there, when my sister would go 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 17 

on to church (we lived but two doors from the 
meeting-house). She and her husband would some- 
times smile and tell me they believed I intended to 
be a Quaker. I did not know it would so soon be 
the case, but I felt a secret satisfaction in attending 
their meetings. I generally sat near the door or 
in the back part of the house, lest my appearance 
should attract their attention. In the evening above 
alluded to we had not sat long before a Friend got 
up and spoke, and as he seemed tedious, my com- 
panion soon got tired and proposed going, but I 
chose to stay, and she left me. After some time, 
dear Daniel Offley appeared largely in testimony. 
He mentioned the prospect he had of some youth, 
then present, having a great work to do and spoke 
so clearly to my state that I was much struck with 
it, but knew not at that time it was intended for 
me, and thought how deeply those must feel for 
whom it was meant. But although I did not at 
that time take it to myself, I had afterwards cause 
to remember that solemn testimony, and it was a 
strength to me. 

About the middle of the Fourth Month I re- 
turned home, and soon after was invited to attend 
a wedding, and being again in a very thoughtless 
state, I was pleased with the thoughts of having 
the opportunity to display my fine clothes. A few 
nights before the wedding I had a dream which 



18 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

made considerable impression upon my mind, and 
the next day, sitting with a near connection, with 
whom I was very intimate, I related it to her and 
told her I believed there would shortly be a death 
in the family. While we were conversing together 
there seemed to be a cloud or mist which over- 
shadowed me, and I felt as if I was raised off the 
chair. I believe I was at the moment insensible to 
everything around me. My countenance changed, 
and my cousin, in some surprise, asked me what 
was the matter. I told her I felt very strange, and 
burst into a flood of tears. When I a little recov- 
ered I told her if nothing happened to myself or in 
the family, never to mention the situation I had 
been in. My mind then became very awfully im- 
pressed with the thoughts of death and the necessity 
of being prepared. On the succeeding day I heard 
of the decease of a little cousin, who died of a short 
illness, and when we were assembled to attend the 
burial, two children out of one family were carried 
by the door, who both died of the same disease. 
All these things had a tendency, deeply and awfully, 
to impress my mind. I seemed in a state of amaze- 
ment and distress, and was willing to deliver myself 
up to the Lord, but knew not what step to take. 
All was dark and gloomy before me. May I never 
forget the night I passed after that funeral ; a thick 
veil of darkness seemed to cover me, and the terrors 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 19 

of an angry God encompassed me abont. A near 
relation slept with me, who had taken a serious turn 
some time before ; she spoke encouragingly to me ; 
but alas, my mind was not in a tit state to receive 
it. The next day my parents came home, having 
been absent some time. I shed abundance of tears, 
which they, not knowing the real cause, attributed 
to the deep sympathy I had for my afflicted relations. 
The young woman whose wedding I had been 
invited to, was married according to appointment, 
but I felt no disposition to attend the marriage, 
being sorely distressed in mind. The da}' following 
I paid her a morning visit, though I scarce knew 
where I was or what I was about. For six weeks 
I experienced a state of deep conflict and exercise. 
My dress became very burdensome to me, and the 
fear of not having stability deterred me from chang- 
ing it. In the course of that time I spent a week 
with some Methodist relations. Their minister 
came while I was there, and I attended their meet- 
ing, with which I was much pleased, my mind 
bein^ in a very tender state. Thev also invited me 
to attend their class-meeting, but I did not feel the 
same unity with that ; however, I believed them 
to be a seeking people, and became greatly attached 
to them, and thought I should join the society. But 
after my return home, still feeling some doubts, and 
not that peace and confirmation which, above all 



20 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

things, I desired, at times, when a little strength 
was afforded, my prayers were pat up in secret, 
that I might be rightly directed. But oh, I knew 
not what to do, nor which way to turn myself for 
peace of mind. 

One day, being in great distress, my endeared 
mother came to the door of my chamber, and I 
opened it; she came in, and seeing my situation, 
she kneeled down and prayed fervently for my 
preservation. At another time she came to me in 
my chamber, and I, being in great agony, threw 
my arms around her and asked her what I should 
do. She told me there was no necessity for my 
being so greatly distressed, as I was young and 
innocent. But still, feeling my dress a very great 
burthen to me and through fear of running too fast, 
it greatly afflicted me, and one day, being retired, 
I threw myself upon my knees and took up the 
Bible, which lay by the bedside, scarce knowing 
what I did, and opened upon this passage : " Put 
off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what 
to do unto thee." I also had a dream which fur- 
ther convinced me. I thought I was at the point of 
death, and there seemed no help for me, and being 
in great agony, I covenanted with the Almighty 
that if He would spare me a little longer, there 
was nothing which He required of me but what I 
would give up to, through his grace assisting me, 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 21 

and that the remainder of my days should be dedi- 
cated to his service. Immediately after I made 
this covenant I thought I saw myself recovered and 
in a plain garb, very neat and simple. 

Shortly after this I attended a general meeting 
of Friends at Uwchlan, and preparatory thereto, as 
secretly as I could, I took the trimming off one of 
my plainest silk gowns and cut off the trail. I had 
also a black bonnet made without much trimming, 
which I wore instead of my hat and feathers. There 
was a considerable number of young girls in com- 
pany, going to the meeting, and I endeavored to 
appear cheerful, but my heart was secretly engaged 
in cries to the Lord, that I might hear something 
that might be confirming to me, for I was then waver- 
ing whether or not I should join the Methodists. We 
accordingly went to meeting, and soon after I sat 
down a deep exercise covered my spirit. After some 
time, dear William Savery got up and spoke so 
exactly to my state that my heart was much broken 
and my spirit contrited within me. We lodged 
that night at a Friend's house, where clear William 
also was, who, with some other Friends, remarking 
our appearance to be in the gay line, wondered a 
little at our being there on such an occasion, but 
upon our telling them it was from a desire of attend- 
ing the general meeting, they, in a pleasant manner, 



22 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

expressed their approbation and spoke encourag- 
ingly to us. 

After returning from this meeting the weight 
and necessity of putting on a plain dress seemed to 
increase, and one evening, when most of the family 
were gone from home, I sent to the shop for some 
plain gauze, and, by candle-light, with a darning 
needle, made a little round-eared cap. Next morn- 
ing I arose early, but did not leave my chamber 
till the family had nearly all breakfasted, being 
upon my knees and earnestly petitioning to be 
rightly directed. After which I felt most easy to 
leave off my cushion and put on the cap I had 
made. When I went clown stairs my father and 
mother and a little nephew were sitting at the table, 
and as I entered the room my father viewed me in 
a manner that somewhat affected me, so that I was 
obliged to retire a few minutes to give vent to my 
tears, in which time my father left the room and I 
took my seat at the table. But a small portion of 
breakfast served. My little nephew fixed his eyes 
on me in silent astonishment at the alteration. 
However, I was favored to keep in a degree of 
quiet, although it was indeed a deep trial to me to 
be thus exposed to the observation and remarks of 
my connections and acquaintances. But my dear 
sister and brothers continuing to treat me with 
their wonted respect and affection, my heart was, I 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 23 

trust, made measurably thankful. I labored under 
a very heavy affliction from an inflammation in my 
eyes, occasioned by a cold taken some time before 
I changed my dress, and from not taking the neces- 
sary care when I left off my cushion, it became 
fixed in my eye. My health also appearing to 
decline from the great exercise of my mind, my 
parents sent me to the Yellow Springs, where I 
spent some weeks. It happened to be the time of 
the harvest frolic, and being persuaded by some 
company that were there for their health, I went to 
see them dance. But, oh, the distress of mind 
which I felt when entering the dancing room I can- 
not describe. I seemed as if I was in a lire, and 
could not stay many minutes, but walked in the 
balcony, and shortly after left the company and re- 
tired to my chamber, where I gave vent to many 
tears and earnestly besought forgiveness for what 
I had done, after which I felt a little quiet. 

The springs did not prove effectual in restoring 
my eye, though my health was considerably mended. 
In the fall, it was thought necessary for me to go to 
Philadelphia and call a consultation of physicians, 
as my friends were apprehensive I should lose the 
sight, unless something could be done. The doc- 
tors proposed to scarify it, and I felt a willingness 
to submit to the operation, nor have I any doubt 
that this heavy affliction was in Divine wisdom, to 



24 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

wean my affections from the world. But kind 
Providence did not suffer the operation to be per- 
formed, for, although they came many times with 
instruments in their pockets, my eye was never in 
a proper state to receive it. I continued to suffer 
extreme pain with it for twelve months, great part 
of which time I was under care of physicians ; but 
after a time, being favored to seek to Him from 
whom all true help cometh, and my dependence 
withdrawn from those physicians of no value, in a 
firm reliance that the Lord would restore me in 
his own time, I became resigned, and, forever 
blessed be his holy name, He was indeed pleased 
to restore me without the aid of any human assist- 
ance. As He is pleased often to afflict for wise 
purposes, so He is graciously pleased to restore 
when those purposes are fulfilled. 

Soon after my return from the city, in the fall, 
William Savery visited Pottstown Meeting, and I 
happened to be there. He appeared largely in testi- 
mony and spoke so exactly to my state, and his 
doctrine carried with it such an evidence, that I 
could no longer doubt the principle, and since that 
I do not remember ever to have omitted an oppor- 
tunity which was put in my power to attend Friends' 
meetings. He also appeared in supplication, in one 
part of which my mind was so struck with the be- 
lief that I should be called into the ministry that it 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 25 

caused me to tremble from head to foot. After 
meeting I invited him home with me, and he, having 
some recollection of me from seeing me at Uwchlan 
some time before, accepted the invitation. He 
presented me with a little book, for which I was 
very grateful, not for the value of the book, but 
because it was given as a token of regard from one 
to whom I felt my spirit nearly united. The next 
Fourth-day he proposed being at the Monthly Meet- 
ing at Exeter, whither my dear mother and myself 
went and attended the meeting for worship, and a 
memorable season it was to me. As we returned 
home it seemed as if the face of nature was changed, 
and I saw a large field of labor opened, and that the 
work was not to be done in a day or a month, but 
that it was a gradual, progressive work, and must 
go on step by step. For I had begun to conclude, 
after I had altered my gay appearance and given 
up all those vain amusements of which I was wont 
to partake, and feeling a degree of peace therein, 
that the work was completed, and I had nothing 
more to do, so was in danger of taking up a false 
rest. But He who began the work did not leave 
me here, but caused a renewed visitation of his 
love to be extended through this dear instrument. 
On Fourth-day evening he came in late and lodged, 
and in the morning, before we parted, had a solemn 
opportunity with us, in which season he addressed 



26 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

ine by name, imparting much counsel and encour- 
agement, if faithfulness was kept to on my part; 
telling me also that the passage through this life 
was known, even by the most experienced, to be a 
continual warfare, which sealed truth I have since 
been feelingly sensible of, but as it was the first time 
I ever had been so singularly spoken to, it affected 
me mach. 

I had some time before this memorable visit 
from William Savery been greatly exercised about 
my music. Having a particular fondness for it and 
making considerable proficiency therein, I could 
not give it up until it was absolutely required, but 
after this renewed visitation it seemed like forbidden 
fruit, and I dare not touch it. However, not being 
thoroughly satisfied whether it would be required 
of me wholly to give it up, I wished to be rightly 
directed, and one night, going to bed under the 
impression, I dreamed I was playing, and as I 
touched the strings they broke under my fingers. 
This dream, with the feeling that attended my 
mind, convinced me the time was fully come for 
me to part with this idol also, which, though a long 
and continued cross, I was enabled to take up. 

I remained steady in the attendance of meetings 
for above a year and a half before my mind felt at 
liberty to make application to be received as a 
member, but for twelve months preceding was con- 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. Zi 

strained to use the plain language. In the fall, 
before I made application to be received among 
Friends, Job Scott, being out upon a religious visit, 
lodged at our house. My father was from home, 
and my mother and aunt with a beloved friend from 
the city and myself made up the family at that time, 
and truly it seemed as if the canopy of Divine love 
was spread over us, and celestial showers issuing 
from the Fountain of Life, descended upon our 
habitation. I had for some time been in a low spot, 
and longed for a drop of heavenly consolation : my 
dear mother also had her mind much unsettled by 
unprotitably conversing upon Swedenborg's opin- 
ions. There was likewise an elderly man in the 
neighborhood who had written a piece vainly en- 
deavoring to account for things he ouo'ht not. This 
man happened to be at our little meeting, when 
dear Job, after sitting a short time in silence, got 
up with these words : " TTho art thou, oh, man ! 
oh, woman ! who would of thine own finite under- 
standing presume to investigate the mysteries of 
the inscrutable God?" The words were solemn 
and awakening, and he was favored to open matters 
clearly. It proved, I trust, an humbling season to 
some who were present. And through infinite con- 
descension, this dear Friend, having a sitting in the 
family, was dipped into a sense of our state, and 
administered suitable counsel and encouragement. 



28 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

Also in a little private opportunity, with tears 
flowing mutually from our eves, he mentioned his 
sympathy with me and his prospect respecting me ; 
telling me I should have trials, and to remember 
that it was told me I should have trials, which 
assuredly have since fallen to my lot. 

About the middle of the ensuing winter, believing 
the time nearly arrived for me to make request to 
Friends to be received under their care, I mentioned 
it, in a solid manner, to my parents, though in great 
fear, and having mine eyes turned to the Lord, 
with earnest breathings that I might be strength- 
ened and assisted in this important step. My 
mother was much affected and shed tears, but my 
father thought it was time enough vet to make such 
a sacrifice, that I was young and had better wait 
till I was more fixed. I was enabled to tell him 
that I was willing to give up the world and all the 
enjoyments of it for the purchase of a little peace, 
that I no longer took delight in those things that 
had formerly given me much pleasure. He, seeing 
my mind bent upon it, gave his consent, and the 
next meeting-day my mother went with me to Exe- 
ter. After the meeting she called two elderly 
Friends aside and told them she felt like Hannah 
when she made an offerin°; of her son to the Lord, 
for she had come to make an offering of me, also 
telling them of my concern. They accordingly 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 29 

took it under care, and, after divers visits from a 
solid committee of Friends, I was received in the 
Fifth Month, 1787. 

I then found that, far from sitting down at ease, 
there was a large field of lahor opened for me, and 
in the prospect thereof, my knees were made to 
tremble. I felt a deep concern to be steady in the 
attendance of meetings for worship and discipline, 
and bein£ distantly situated from them, I found 
considerable difficulty, my father being frequently 
very averse to my going, particularly when the 
weather was wet or cold, which proceeded from 
motives of tenderness, but which, nevertheless, cost 
me no small degree of exercise, not feeling easy to 
stay at home on these accounts, when my health 
would admit of my going. And as it gave him great 
uneasiness and he frequently opposed me, I had 
often to experience seasons of conflict, sometimes 
for a week before a meeting for discipline occurred, 
and my heart was poured forthin prayer to Almighty 
God that, if it was right, I might have strength to 
persevere and that way might be opened for me, 
though I could see no way. And, forever blessed 
and praised be his holy name, He often caused the 
mountains to skip like rams and the little hills like 
lambs, to my humbling admiration. One time, I 
particularly remember, being appointed to attend 
the Quarterly Meeting, I asked my father's consent 



30 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

to let me go ; he looked sternly at me and objected. 
I felt in a great strait and pleaded much with him. 
He at last consented, but told me I need not expect 
to go again for some months, for he did not approve 
of women riding about the country in that manner. 
As I had gained his consent for the present, I was 
willing to leave my cause to the Lord, in the belief 
that if He required me to go, He would open the 
way for me, and, after retiring to my chamber and 
giving vent to many tears, my faith and confidence 
were renewed in Him who is the everlasting Rock 
of Ages. This was the last time my dear father 
ever spoke so sharply to me upon such an occasion, 
for, seeing my peace deeply concerned in the strict 
attendance of meetings, and my endeared mother 
often pleading with him, he gave up. 

May all those who labor under difficulties and 
discouragements in attending meetings be encour- 
aged to keep their eye single unto the Lord, with 
fervent breathings to Him ; then, assuredly, He 
will open the way for them, even though they may 
seem to be hedged in on every side. 

My exercises and deep baptisms in the prospect 
of being called into the w T ork of the ministry greatly 
increased, but, oh, my unwillingness to close in 
therewith was more than words can express. My 
Divine Master saw meet to cause me to suffer long 
under a very trying dispensation, which was that 



RUTH ANNA LIXDLEY. 31 

of my beloved and tender mother being tried with 
lingering illness, and there seemed but little pros- 
pect of her recovery. The thought of parting with 
this dear parent, together with the inward exercises 
of ray mind, was almost more than nature could 
bear. Oh, the nights of anxiety and days of deep 
distress which I passed through at that time will 
never be erased from my remembrance. And in 
this season of deep affliction I was made willing to 
covenant, that if the Lord would spare my mother 
I would give up to what He required of me, though 
it was harder than the parting with my natural 
life. And He graciously condescended to listen to 
my cry and restored my endeared parent. 

Previous to this I attended the opening of the 
Monthly Meeting at Robeson ; there were also 
some Friends from the city attended it; one, in 
particular, in the course of his public testimony, 
was dipt into sympathy with us in the deep exercise 
which I was under, together with the prospect of 
some further trial and sore conflict which I should 
have to pass through, in order to fit and prepare 
me for the great and solemn work whereunto my 
Master was about to call me ; which testimony, 
with the sensations that accompanied my mind, 
left no more doubt of its being myself that was 
alluded to, than if my name had been publicly 
mentioned. This circumstance, together with that 



3*2 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

of many valuable Friends having feelingly sympa- 
thized with me, and expressed their prospect respect- 
ing me in a more private way, had a tendency to 
confirm me that the Lord did indeed require an 
entire surrender on my part and that I must be 
willing to become a fool for Christ's sake. 

After many probations, secret tears and prayers 
to my Almighty Father for his help and gracious 
assistance in this awful, solemn work, at a Monthly 
Meeting held in Exeter, in the Twelfth Month, 
1789, and in the twenty-second year of my age, 
after a season of the most severe conflict I ever before 
experienced, wherein the day of solemn covenant 
was brought before the view of my mind, with this 
secret intelligence, that if I did not give up to what 
was required of me, my mother should be taken 
from me, I ventured upon my feet and expressed a 
few words, in which I felt great peace, and believe 
I had the tender sympathy of most that were present. 
My esteemed friend, John Simpson, being there, in 
the language of encouragement, caused my heart 
to be truly thankful. He came home with me, and 
very feelingly expressed his unity with me, and also 
a fear lest, through diffidence, I should not suffi- 
ciently exert my voice. Which gentle hint w T as of 
use afterwards, though at that time, and frequently 
since, I did not expect ever to be called upon again 



RUTH AXXA LIXDLEY. 33 

in the same Hoe, which, peradventure, may not be 
unusual to those young in experience. 

One circumstance I omitted in the early part of 
this narrative, which now occurs to my mind. A 
Friend visiting Pottstown Meeting, about twelve 
months before I became plain, and I, being in a 
very low and discouraged state, went to meeting, 
greatly desiring he might be made an instrument 
of comfort to me. He spoke a considerable time, 
but did not touch upon anything relative to my 
condition, and I returned home under many doubts 
and fears lest my Heavenly Father had cast me off 
forever. My parents were in Philadelphia, and 
being alone, I sat down on the sofa, with the Bible 
in my hand, thinking to gain some instruction and 
comfort from its sacred truths. I had given up the 
idea of seeking the Friend (who was a true father 
in Israel) or having any opportunity with him, as 
not being worthy of it, but, he, dining at my uncle's, 
not far distant, was, after dinner, walking in the 
piazza, and, looking towards our house, felt a 
draught in his mind to come over. He knew nothing 
of the family, but yielding to the impulse, he came, 
and passing through the outward room, where there 
was a young woman of the house, without asking 
any questions, he walked into the parlor, where I 
was sitting, in the situation above described, and 
without any further salutation than shaking hands, 



34 RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 

took a seat by me. A considerable time elapsed in 
deep inward silence, after which he mentioned how 
unexpectedly he was led to come over, without 
knowing the cause ; but then, feeling his mind 
clothed with sympathy for me and believing it was 
for my sake, he imparted much counsel and advice, 
with a great deal of encouragement to me. Which 
singular favor did deeply humble my heart and 
caused tears of gratitude, contrition and tenderness 
to stream from my eyes. 

Having for my own satisfaction penned these 
few hints of my varied conflicts and exercises, and 
being sensible of the goodness of the Lord to me, 
his poor, unworthy creature, it is in my heart to 
say, may it please Thee, oh, most gracious, merci- 
ful Father, to bow down thine ear and hear the 
humble petition of thy hand-maid. Oh ! be pleased 
to lay, with increasing weight, thine Almighty hand 
upon me. Let it not spare, neither let thine eye 
pity, until Thou hast thoroughly tried me, proved 
me and known my works. Be pleased to bring me 
more immediately under thy refining operation, 
and enable me to bear with true resignation every 
turning of thy holy hand, that so I may be purged 
and purified, fitted and qualified, rightly to engage 
in the awful and solemn work whereunto Thou hast 
called me. Or if, most gracious Lord, Thou art 
pleased to cut short thy work, oh ! let it be in 



RUTH ANNA LINDLEY. 35 

righteousness, and grant me admittance into thine 
ever blessed kingdom of light, life and peace, there 
to join in the holy anthems of glory, glory, halle- 
lujahs and praise to the Lord God and the Lamb, 
who art worthy forever, saith my soul. Amen and 
amen ! Ruth Anna Rutter.